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19 July 2009

Arti e Mestieri - 'Tilt' (Cramps)

Funny how my entire accumulation of Cramps-label Italian prog pretty much resides on one shelf, in the Ar section specifically. Arti and Mestieri's debut LP looked like a sure thing when I stumbled across it - great Crampsy sleeve design with that pop art-cum-Futurist feel, lots of Italian names I didn't recognize, and the presence of a Mellotron. I was probably expecting something as far out and fucked up as Area's most adventurous records, but instead I got a gentle, pop side of jazz/rock fusion. There's a smoother feel, more focus on strings and horns, and a textural quality that sits well like an after-dinner mint. 'GravitĂ  9,81' opens the album and sets the pace with its hot saxophone solo over bouncy bass guitar riffs. Yes, this is fusion - perhaps the "dark side of fusion", a term which refers not to the sonorities expressed through the music but rather as a judgement of taste. My own tastes tend to have a weakness for grilled cheese sandwiches, if prepared on a George Foreman, ya follow? This is more of a Jaffle maker approach, though there's a few biting electric guitar solos and chiming, "sunrise" moments that pack a bit of punch. 'In Cammamino' has a breakdown that reminds me of the kind of live band you'd see playing in a New York department store for free, at lunch time, during the Christmas shopping season in the 1950s. It immediately dips back into electric piano jerkoffs and slightly-Seinfeldian bass slaps, creating an unintentionally hilarious effect. I'm not that sold on this record and it's probably been in my vinyl accumulation for so long because of a) the cover art, b) the Cramps label 'cred' and c) these few nice juxtapositions. Not to mention that my accumulation was in storage for a few years, so there ya go. The big 13-minute 'Articolazioni' has that National Health vibe, with cleaner violins (or is it a viola?) but even through it's own busy-ass drumming and slow chordal ascension it feels like 'more of the same'.

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